Snowflake Embryo Grandbabies

This week I’m linking up with one of my favorite blogs, Kelly’s Korner.   Her “Show us Your Life” Friday feature is for grandmothers 🙂  It was almost exactly one year ago that I became the grandmother of twins -long awaited, much loved and prayed for, special little people.  For several years, my son and dear daughter in law tried on their own, and also through fertility treatments, to have a baby.  They were finally told that it would take IVF (in vitro fertilization) for their wish for a baby to come true.  Son and dear DIL prayed long and hard about what to do…. and then one day they learned about embryo adoption.  It was truly an answer to prayer.  This was perfect for them!  It was not only less expensive than IVF, it would possibly give a chance at life to a frozen embryo (which we personally believe to be a little person).  Families who do IVF, sometimes have left over frozen embryos that they do not want or cannot use themselves and they may  have an option to put their “left over” embryos up for adoption.  Our embryos came to us through a Christian embryo adoption agency.  It is much like adopting a baby… you have a caseworker, fill out lots of paperwork, pass thorough background checks, have a parenting plan, and then you get “matched” to a family.  To make a long story short, the first try at transferring the frozen embryos was unsuccessful.  A few months later, another attempt was made and this time, everything was just right.  We rejoiced to learn that dear DIL was indeed pregnant.  We rejoiced even more a few weeks later when we learned -via ultrasound- that twins were on the way!  Here are a few photos…

twins at 9 weeks!

Isn’t it amazing to see both our babies at only 7 weeks along?

Then we watched dear DIL “blossom” as well….

20 weeks 28 weeks 33 weeks

The pregnancy didn’t exactly sail along in smooth waters…  at 26 weeks, dear DIL had to be admitted to the hospital for pre term labor.  She spent approx 6 weeks in the hospital on strict bed rest and then two weeks at home – also on strict bed rest.  Then…. when she was 33 weeks and 2 days, her water broke.  We knew the babies were coming early, but we were also so thankful that she had been able to keep them safely inside for 33+ weeks.  Let me insert here that I’ve been a neonatal nurse for over 30 years, and in my heart I knew that there could be ALL SORTS of complications  with babies born even 7 weeks early.  Thankfully, the twins had a typical and normal course in the NICU.

Jake and Katie 6 days old

Here they are, Jake and Katelyn, 6 days old.  They were both around 4 pounds and 6 ounces at birth, Jake being a few ounces bigger than his sister.   You can see they have feeding tubes in.  Premature babies need to mature before they can take all their feeds on their own, so this is very typical.

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Here they are, sleeping in their isolettes.

first week at home 022After about 3 weeks, we had our precious twins at home.  Grammie Suz went to spend a couple weeks with the new family – precious days that will never be forgotten.  Our babies thrived and grew and grew!  Even though they were preemies, they learned quickly how much they loved to nurse.  No, I won’t be posting a photo of that!  But it was impressive, how quickly they caught on and went from all bottles (and dear DIL so busy, pumping, pumping, pumping) to simply nursing and loving it.

2012-07-11_08-27-30_319Here they are at about 3 1/2 months old… growing and getting cuter by the day!

grammie and katelyn jake and grammieThen one day last summer, the twins (and their parents) came to Grammies house to visit.  What fun!!

Twins 8 moHere our happy babies are at about 8 months.  Absolutely precious!

Katelyn Jan 16Here she is, a couple of months ago, so proud of her new found skill – standing!!

jake standing1Here is our big boy, standing up and very pleased with himself!

In about two weeks, we’ll celebrate their 1st birthday.  On that day we’ll send up special prayers to thank God for bringing these special, darling, and oh-so-loved babies into our lives.  🙂  I can’t say enough wonderful things about embryo adoption.  What a wonderful answer to many prayers!

Time for a big change

I have a funny feeling that our lives are about to make a big change.  It looks like the long awaited twins will be arriving sooner rather than later.  Possibly as soon as next week.  The huge worries about their health and well being, while not totally gone, are much eased.  The doctors  guess that the twins are approximately 4 1/2 pounds each.  Considering where they were back on January 13th, that scary Friday the 13th when dear DIL had to be transported via ambulance at 24 weeks to a Seattle hospital, we now have a couple of “big babies” on our hands!  There was one thing I decided NOT to mention to my son and DIL at that very scary time.  Someone at my hospital gave birth to 24 week twins that same weekend.  One died the next day, and I’m not sure if the other one survived or not.  By the grace of God, we did NOT have twins that weekend.

Now we approach the time when two new little people will enter the family.  Other than by marriage, we haven’t added anyone to my side of the family in 33 years!  It’s about time!! 🙂  I remember when I had my first baby.  Life was suddenly different, never to be the same again.  Now it’s my turn to sit back and watch it all happen.  It’s wonderful, exciting, tiring, miraculous, precious, exhausting, and unforgettable.  We’ve heard the term “the new normal” bantered about quite a lot these days…. in reference to monetary things.  Well, my son and DIL are about to slip into their own “new normal” –  which, lets be honest, equals CHAOS!  You will think you are the ONLY people awake in the middle of the night feeding two little babies.  You will shocked at all the diapers you’ll go through.  There will be times you will think… or say out loud…”I can’t believe ALL THIS came out of one tiny baby!!” You will be amazed at the amount of laundry two infants can make.  You will be surprised at how the days and nights fly by, with thoughts only of “the babies”.  Sometimes new daddies get pretty darn jealous of all the time the baby(ies) take from them.  Mommy’s focus must change somewhat, while the babies are little. New parents now have to face huge new responsibilities.  No longer is is just the two of you you’re looking out for.  It’s all a period of adjustment.  We’ve all been through it, and survived it… but it’s not too surprising that new parenthood can feel very overwhelming at times.  It’s also fun, and exciting, and terribly rewarding.  You are about to embark on a huge new journey… one that – contrary to popular belief – doesn’t end in 18 years.  Once you’re a parent, it never stops.  They’re always your kids.  No matter how old, no matter how far away they live.  This, my dears, is a journey for life…a journey you are blessed to be able to take.

A crazy week… in many ways….

I thought by now I’d have my first book review posted for the year, but it sort of slipped to the back burner this week.  A week ago today, I was attending an mandatory meeting at work and got a call from Son #2.  Dear DIL was (unbeknownst to all) having premature labor!  At 24 weeks, we knew this was not a good thing… to say the least.  I truly believe it was God’s hand that allowed dear DIL to have an appointment last Friday morning with a high risk OB specialist MD who had come to their community from Seattle.  He noted immediately that she was in early labor and that action needed to be taken – now.  I can only imagine how frightening this must have been for both my son and DDIL.  She was quickly transferred to an ambulance and taken to a hospital in Seattle, where I can guarantee you, they know how to handle premature labor!  After many tests and examinations, as well as an IV with MagSulfate, her contractions slowed, her cervix closed, and the bag of water from baby “A” which had been bulging – disappeared back to where it belonged!  Oh, the prayers that were sent up for these precious babies!!  And the joy that God heard and answered our prayers!!   Looks like our little momma will be hangin’ out with the folks in the big-city hospital for another 5 weeks or thereabouts.  I know it will be boring, but I also know it’s the best place for her to just rest and gestate!  Here is a photo taken early this week… of course AT the hospital.

Another development this week was the announcement of our babies names!  Now we know we’ll soon be meeting (well, not TOO soon!) Jacob Thomas (“Jake”) and Katelyn Macy.  🙂  🙂  When the parents-to-be asked me for input on baby names, I pretty much refused to give any.  All I said was… “don’t pick anything too weird and please, whatever you do, don’t name your little girl Bertha”.  My granny was named Bertha, and I loved her dearly, but I can’t say I was too fond of her name.

Also, this week we had some perfectly HORRIBLE weather.  All the predictions for snow came true, plus more.  It was all bad enough to keep us from making our flight down to Palm Springs this week.  What a disappointment, but what can you do?  Wait for it to melt and reschedule, I guess.  That’s what we did today!  Here’s a huge shout-out to Allegiant Airlines for refunding our money for the flight we were completely unable to make!  We will be going down next week to put the finishing touches on the vacation rental home… and, it looks like we have our first serious renter lined up for several weeks in February.  YAHOO!

Be watching for an update next week from our sunny place in the California desert!

Final post for 2011…. Happy New Year!

Since I have to work tomorrow (New Year’s Eve) I decided it was time to do my final post of the year tonight.  Yes, I should (Lord willing) get home shortly after 9pm, but it’s probable that I won’t want to write in the blog after a long day at work, so, tonight’s the night!

Last year I had every intention to “go through every cupboard, closet, and dusty box in the garage” in an effort to DE-clutter my home.  I planned to give away everything I didn’t truly love or need.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t get through every single drawer, closet, and dusty box.  I did get through a fair amount of my stuff and we did actually give away quite a few bags and boxes of stuff.  It truly DOES feel great to de-clutter, and I will once again make it a priority in 2012 to finish the job, yet undone.

I mentioned briefly last year that I hoped to lose some weight – for lots of reasons.  Highest on my list was to help my “broken” hip.  Well, I did lose some weight and am happy to report that this New Year’s Eve I weigh 13 pounds less than I did last year at this time.  Okay, it’s not great and I did gain back some of the weight I managed to lose, but it’s all okay.  I will start again at the turn of the year, and maybe next year I can report similar progress.

Next year we have a major event in store!  The birth of our long awaited, dreamed for, hoped for, prayed for, grandbabies!  They are due in early May, but realistically we know they will arrive sooner.  I am praying that they will make it into April… the neonatal nurse in me knows WAAYYY too much about “what could happen” and I try very hard NOT to dwell on any of that.  Yesterday I went out into the garage, into my craft cupboard and found a cross stitch sampler I started when my youngest (now 33) was a baby.  I don’t quite remember just why I didn’t finish it, but now I have MAJOR motivation.  Here’s a snapshot of it, taken yesterday. Oh yeah, there’s another goal for next year!  Get this adorable sampler done and ready to hang!

I’m also going to go back to putting my book reviews under the “Books 2012” tab at the top of the page.  I have a feeling that with the grandbabies (yup, a boy and a girl!) coming next year, that I will have lots and lots to put in the main section of the blog.

I’ve decided to get involved in a “reading challenge” also this coming year!  It’s called the “Historical Fiction Challenge 2012”.  I’ll be trying to read under Level Two – “Undoubtedly Obsessed” where I’ll be striving to read 15 historical books this year.  I think I’ll manage it, although believe it or not, I DO read more than just historical stuff, although it’s definitely my “go-to” genre.

I also have one final book review for this year.  Recently I finished reading a book on my phone.  Yep. I took advantage of the free Kindle app and it took me a year, but I finished it!  It was called “I Still Dream About You” by Fannie Flagg.  Her books are easy to follow… even though it would sometimes be days or weeks before I’d pick it up again.  I really enjoyed the book and will most definitely read more by her in the future! Well, that’s about it for my end of the year post.  As always, I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and wonderful new year 2012.  Stay tuned for frequent Twin updates… as well as much, much more!!

Books and babies

Here we are, nearly done with 2011.  Amazing.  I could write a novel about this past year, but I’ll spare my readers the ramblings – and cut to the chase!  By now you all know that Son #2 and Dear DIL are expecting twins, through the miracle and generosity of embryo adoption. Here are the two most recent baby bump photos:

Yesterday we found out the gender of the babies.  I was overjoyed to learn that we are having……. ONE OF EACH!  A boy AND a girl!!  Awesome!  Brilliant!  Can you tell I’m ecstatic?  Shoot, I would have been happy with two girls or two boys… but there is just something particularly lovely about having one of each.  We are all smiles here, that’s for sure.  And grateful.  And thankful.

Now for my end of year book reviews.  They will be short, they will be sweet.  Maybe not so sweet.  Here are the three books I finished recently:

This was the fourth or possibly the fifth in the “Irish Country Doctor” series by Patrick Taylor.  I have thoroughly enjoyed EVERY SINGLE ONE of these books.  I have listened to EVERY SINGLE ONE on CD and absolutely adore the reader/narrator.  This volume actually got specific in describing a few medical situations and of course I ate that stuff up.  Non-medical people might not be as thrilled as I was to read all those details.  I splurged and pre-ordered this one from Amazon.com.  Sure hope that the author, Dr Patrick Taylor (who now lives in Canada) will be coming out with another one VERY soon!

The Winthrop Woman, by Anya Seton… my first book by this beloved historical author.  This novel was written in the mid 1950’s and is set in both England and the New England (American) Colonies in the early 1600’s.  I enjoyed it very much, although it took me nearly forever to finish it.  I don’t often read books of this era, so a lot of the events and circumstances were fairly new to me.  Ahhhh, another reason I DO love reading historical books — I learn so much from them!  Okay, I said I’d keep this section “short and sweet”, so let’s move on to my final novel of the year….

Say When, by Elizabeth Berg.  Oh good heavens…. when will I learn?  I have read at least 3 Berg novels this year and none impressed me.  I guess I keep remembering some of her previous books that really WERE excellent.  Well, this one wasn’t.  I still do not understand the fantastic ratings most of her books receive on Amazon.  Maybe the women who read them and truly love them are lacking a few brain cells?  Well this was another novel that really lacked substance.  I most certainly DO NOT recommend this one…. it’s all about a couple who have been married 12 years (or thereabouts) and have a 6 yr old daughter…. the wife falls out of love with hubby, falls IN love with her local auto mechanic (lame!) and essentially how they break up and then make up.  End of story.  Blah.

I do plan to try and do one more post this year…. one that will briefly address my plans/goals (I refuse to use the word “resolution”) for next year… as well as a brief report on how I did with last year’s “plans and goals”!

Christmas and more….

I love the thought of an “old fashioned Christmas”… something sort of depicted on the picture here.  Do you have snow at your house?  We don’t.  I wouldn’t mind having about a foot of it arrive on Christmas Eve, and then depart on Boxing Day.  Have you ever been on a sleigh ride?  I haven’t.  I’d sure love to do that “someday” before I’m too old and would complain too much about being cold to enjoy it!  Have you put up all your Christmas decorations, got your home looking all cozy and Christmasy?  Not here.  Lots of reasons, but nope, it’s not done.  Every year I consider NOT doing it.  I highly doubt this will be my “year off” from decorating, but I’m sure not rushing into it.  Have you been baking cookies, making special candy, fudge, and treats?  These are all traditions from my own childhood… great memories of my mom in the kitchen EVERY day in December, baking something different,  making delicious homemade fudge, – and my dad’s favorite – penuche.  Well, I’ve thought about it, but haven’t baked a thing.  Got all your Christmas cards in the mail?  Not me.  I haven’t sent out one card.  Not one.  This is highly unusual for me, as I really DO love writing and receiving cards every year.  Have you got all your gifts purchased and wrapped?  Not done here.  Yes, I’ve got some stuff but I haven’t wrapped a thing.  Not one thing.   Don’t ask me why I have been dragging my feet all the way to Christmas this year.  My reasons are as lengthy as my husband’s long list of “Why I Won’t Eat Chicken”.   I’m hoping the spirit of the season hits me good and hard… and SOON!   We have all sorts of family members coming over next week ~ people who expect and DESERVE a merry Christmas family event.  I hope I can get in the mood, quick-like.

Time for another twin update!  Here are a photos from the past three weeks:

Still no word on the genders of the babies.  We will find out on December 27th after the next ultrasound.  I think it’s an understatement to say that we are all super excited to find out!  Tomorrow my dear daughter in law will be 20 weeks/5 months pregnant!  I’ll post that photo soon, and not wait for three weeks to show it.  I can barely put into words how happy we are, and thankful too that this has been a good pregnancy for her.  We are more than halfway there now… hoping the babies will wait to arrive until at least 37 weeks.   Be watching for gender announcement, coming in less than two weeks!!

Our twins are growing!

Our twins are growing right along!  This week I’ll post three photos – all taken one week apart.Here she/they are at 14 weeks.

Here we are at 15 weeks.

And now, today at 16 weeks.

Our mommy-to-be reports that she is no longer nauseated – YAY!  We still don’t know if we have two boys, two girls, or one of each…but you can be sure when we find out, I’ll be sharing that news as well.  I’m excited that son #2 and our mommy-to-be will be coming to our house next week for Thanksgiving.  We’re really looking forward to it!  No doubt I’ll have more pictures next week, this time taken at our house!

Soon I’ll be posting about a great audio book I recently finished.. another in the “Irish Country Doctor” series by Patrick Taylor.  I’m still plugging along (what? two months now? tooooo long!) on a very good book set in Colonial times (1630’s) in Massachusetts.  I’m enjoying it, but would love to finish it and move on to something new!  I just haven’t had enough time to read lately.  This week has been spent studying for my NRP renewal (Neonatal Resuscitation) and taking the 9 tests online prior to the megacode in a week or so.  Fun.  Not.